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Edge Change


skier2788
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Recently I have been reading a lot on technique. Mostly on here and Waterski Magazine articles. I feel I have been skiing with a false idea as to when you want the edge change. I used to think that "working" between the white water was meaning that you would initiate your pull at the start of the white water and pull to the center of the wakes then edge change on top of or just after the second wake so that when you exited the white water on the other side you hade done everything and were already setup in a good preturn. I have been thinking a great deal on this as I read the different articles and the forum. So I ask have I been 100% wrong? So I have been contemplating holding my edge until I am on the edge of the white water. I feel holding my edge will cast me out wider and more speed into the ball which will allow me to carry it around the ball and back into the wakes. This extra speed will allow me to ski "lighter" because I will not have to generate as much speed. Staying in a stacked position longer will be beneficial. Thoughts?
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If you watch the pros, I am picturing Terry and Jamie, on their early lines they can change edges at or even before the first wake. Its crazy. I try to let my ski change edges at the second wake. To me this means getting light in my feet/knees at the first wake or middle of the wakes so the ski can release and start to roll over and ultimately carry out through an edge change at the second wake. Its easier for me to feel when I get it wrong than it is to define what the perfect timing is. If I land on in the white water on the other side of the second wake and haven't changed edges yet, I am thinking crap, now I will have too much down course speed and will have a loose line when I finish the next turn. When I pull long its almost always because because I dropped my shoulder into the first wake. If I am level and light on the line, I can control my edge change much better. When I drop away, I loose control. Hope that helps.

 

KB

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I am a 28 to 35 off skier. I am 6 foot 2 and 205 so I am always looking for ways to be lighter. I have heard coaches say most people give up the stacked position to early but maybe I am one of the few who doesn't. Man do I hate winter I want to go try some new stuff and see if any of it works.
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FWIW- From watching a lot of very good skiers from the boat and towers, I have seen that that beginning at about -28, keeping a pulling edge much past the second wake definitely makes skiers faster and narrower at the ball. Maybe?- if the best possible angle is 90 degrees to the direction of the pull (tangent to the arc of the rope length) not far after C/L of the wakes, that 'tangent' will start having a component in the direction the boat is moving. Still accelerating still and adding energy- reaching the buoy before reaching full width. Half way from C/L to buoy, pulling perfectly 90 degrees to load gives a component down course equal to the one adding width, and the ski is not slowing down yet... A turn that's much faster than a ski is tuned for, seems to cause some turn 'issues'- perhaps it slides more, wheelies, sticks or behaves in some other way that needs recovery and adjustment into the next buoy, and so on. More to the point and using no math- my friend says "if you want to go that way, quit trying so hard to go the other way"...
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I agree with Rossi, and I'll add some additional personal opinion:

 

I don't view that edge change as something "to do," but rather as something that "happens" as a result of doing other things. When you've built enough speed that your momentum will take you wide of the buoy, you don't have to pull any more. (Don't pop up, though -- stay to down to maintain that outbound direction without adding undo speed. See "Handle Control"!)

 

It's very easy to misunderstand the early edge change that you'll see top skiers do. The luxury of changing edge early comes if you've built enough speed that your momentum can carry you from there. As a personal example, I look pretty comical when I occasionally run -22, because I've built plenty of speed for that line length by about the first wake, and then the edge change happens right at the second wake, launching me skyward.

 

But that's not how someone running -22 for the first time can approach it. If they edge change that early, they'll be narrow and late. They have no choice but to pull longer because they still need to build more speed.

 

My philosophy is: Learn to build more speed from buoy inward, and the edge change will take care of itself.

 

SO, how do you build that speed? I know of 2 major ways:

 

1) Keep your speed around the turn. If you *start* with more speed, then obviously it's easier to reach a higher speed! Especially at shorter lines, this means skiing all the way back to the rope handle. If you try to drop right into a huge pull, there's nothing to pull on yet and you'll just lose all your speed.

 

2) Stacked leverage position. Yep, the core of all things slalom makes the list again. If you have every muscle in your body lined up against the direction of the rope, you can accelerate cross course like a bat out of hell. And if you don't, you'll build very little cross-course speed and thus be stuck pulling all the way out to the ball and start a cascading failure.

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One of the things that I find make it easier to have my edge change occur is just put your elbows into your vest. My coach is always telling me that I need to work on my edge change and that is why im not running 32 right now. When you can keep your elbows tucked into your vest (which is just really keeping your handle low) and your edge change is a nice, easy "roll" from one edge to the other. Makes my 28's 100x easier.
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@Than, I also have an engineering background, and I am on my way to prove a famous theorem (Fermat does not even come close...):

 

The amount of edge change "happening" is inversely proportional to the distance between hips and elbows.

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Agree with Than here, in that doing the right things the edge change should happen at the right place. I think of it this way. The rope is making an arc behind the boat, yet my ski is running at a constant (or near constant) angle through the lean. If I am applying the correct amount of force and if I maintain my outward angle, there will come a point where the boat is pulling the handle up the side of the boat, while I am attempting to maintain an outbound ski direction while keeping the handle tight to my body. The net result is that after I hit the tangent (where the arc of the line meets the 'straight line' of my ski angle), the edge change should naturally occur.

 

All of that being said, sometimes I create too much or too little angle. In those cases, I may have to 'create' the edge change about where I know it should be in order to get things done. The most common case here for me is that I create too much angle and load on the line and get somewhat lean-locked. In these cases, I sometimes need to just pull the handle in a little at the second wake to get my body to come up a bit, then allow the natural physics to take over.

 

Why does skiing always sound so easy on paper?

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FIrst off nothing "happens" in skiing and if it does your failing...everything must be initiated by you...after a while it becomes second nature and you may not notice it as much...effort must be exereted in the whole course, never stop moving, never stop being proactive...

 

edge change initiation needs to happen at the first wake and before it as the rope gets shorter...

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Fwiw, I disagree with @jayski on both points.

 

Tons of things "just happen" as a result of actively concentrating on doing other things. Physics is constantly at work. @ral's note about raising elbows causing an edge change is an example.

 

I don't know how to run anything shorter than -38 (and that one VERY rarely), but I haven't seen edge changes occuring at the first wake on anybody's most difficult pass. (Could be I'm not looking at it right or @jayski means something subtly different by "edge change initiation.")

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The only way I have learned to avoid lean-lock is to make sure to keep my head and shoulders level when I hook up out of the turn. In the old days I would complete the turn and turn my head and shoulders cross course, digging my shoulders into the lean. This creates incredible load and locks you into a position -- you get stuck. If I keep my head and shoulders up and level I can avoid the dreaded lean-lock!
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Than, not to get in an argument over physics and things above my head but you just reconfirmed what I said...

 

as you stated "ton's of things happen as a result of actively..."ACTIVELY... which of course in your statment results in "things that happen" no brainer, of course things happen, but the point you failed to interpret is that you have to do something...being stagnent in the course is counter productive, the skier needs to make it all happen or initiate it all physically if you prefer...

 

 

and just to be clear the theory of edge changing at the first wake and before is not my idea... it is one of the best technical coaches/skiers that I have been working on with that process this winter...running into 38 like that has given me some of the nicest passes with great line tension and low load with no loss in width...

 

with new ski technology they have progressed us that the need for long pulls through both wakes is detrimental and counterproductive...proper outbound direction, consistent movement makes the world right...new skis generate so much speed so easily that the prolonged "pull" is archaic...

 

 

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one more comment... if you watch the "Nate slow" video you can see clearly he is not pulling through the wake or what little there is at 41, he is already coming out of the pull, rising up as he enters the wakes, it gets more noticable as the pass goes...
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I start at 28 and start my edge change as soon as I feel the first wake, too late according to my coach but a good reference point for me to mentally grab...

 

here is a thought....(width dimensions are just for example purposes not actual)

 

at 28 off the wake is 10 feet wide...

 

at 35 off the wake is 7 feet wide...

 

at 39 off the wake is 5 feet wide...

 

a longer rope takes more effort to accomplish a needed width on the opposing side...

 

if you can edge change at the wake and gain the required width at 28 off why would it be necassary to pull an extra 2.5 feet to achieve something that requires less effort...

 

mentally the majority of skiers are all blocked by the old school thought of "pulling" through the wakes...

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with that thought if a skier does everything right there is probably a parallel line that could be drawn on either side of the boat path (actual boat not course) that would be the opportune point to initiate edge change. The lines would intersect the wake on the really long lines to some extent and be outside the wakes on the shorter ones...
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watch Terry Winters early edge change on you tube...

 

@OB just sharing the knowledge, realize that you are not on your "turning edge" at the first wake the transition obviously happens to the second wake, and yes it is all serious...

 

34 mph and into 38 right now, only get to ski every 4-6 weeks for a couple days at a time right now when I'm able to get south...

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Anyone has seen the video of Seth Stisher running 18.25 @ 34 MPH?

 

 

He starts the edge change before the wake. What would happen if people working on that line length try that? If they are lucky, they will turn 6 meters narrow of the buoy. If unlucky, they will end with a neck like mine.

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Clarify what is meant by start the edge change. The start of an edge change to me would be beginning to let up off the max pulling edge or lean. If you watch a lot of the top skiers, they begin to come up (less deep in the lean) at the wake but are still clearly on their leaning edge. This rotation continues from that point such that their body does not come fully up nor does the ski make it to the other edge until out by the wash. The great one's are then able to ride that inside edge out to wide.
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While WCS vs Old School is passé and the info in this DVD certainly not slalom edict; the description of edge change transition is decent (not withstanding the "step behind counter rotation" jargon).

 

Either way, it's fun to add to the confusion, 55k, 58k, etc.

 

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If you go back and review the "slow" videos that have been posted here of various great skiers, you will see a lot of variation in when and how those skier initiate and perform their edge changes. For example, look at Terry Winter vs. Greg Badal. I know Greg is/was heavily influenced by Andy Mapple and it shows. He stays balanced and leveraged over his pulling edge much longer than Terry. Now, I realize Greg is at 34 and Terry is at 36, but Greg skis much more in the style of Mapple - almost more like Mapple was prior to ZO than Mapple is now post ZO. I've always felt that the longer you hold your pulling edge, the more athletic you have to be in the edge change to control it because you will have built up more load and that load is going to release harder and more dynamically in a later edge change. This is not to say that Terry is less athletic than Andy or Greg. Terry is a super athlete, but I think his style of early acceleration and early initiation to the edge change is more efficient and controlled. Just further example of different ways to get it done.
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@OB just curious how can you deem it bad info...

 

I appreciate the fact that you may be a good skier or have many years in the sport and respect that but things change, equipment, speed controls, all variations that require adaptation and in reality and to base a realistic and honest conclusion a person needs to get in the water and give it a go...from actual expierience it works and is 100% feasible, and once again it is not something I came up with, Terry express's it, Seth can pull it off (@34 long line) and other coaches teach it...

 

A person will never push the limits of the sport by doing the same thing for years on end, adaptation progression and willingness to experiment is what pushes the envelope...

 

@RAL if Seth can do it at that line length then it is feasible for everyone to do it, if they can't there are other factors/errors inhibiting them from success...as Terry said you build your speed in the first half and turn the second...coming in narrow is a flaw in improper outbound direction or not completing the previous turn fully... not the edge change or length of pull

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I skied a day w/Razor1 where he told me I needed to start the edge sooner. His son noticed my edge change into 1 ball was the latest of any buoys.

I kicked the edge sooner and made duck soup of 38 off...like a picnic. The key was I was riding the outbound inside edge well to wide.

I then tried to focus on early edge moving forward but progressively did it more and more wrong falling into my old school habits: changing edge early but also reaching and waiting simultaneously. This created a narrow/fast situation.

The early edge change initiation has to be combined with handle control and riding the outbound on the inside edge. I promise to let you all know when I do this consistently and thus run 38 consistently rather than infrequently!

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@jayski, sorry, are you kidding me? "if they can't, there are other factors/errors inhibiting them from success...", like not being perfectly stacked, head leveled all the time, perfect handle control and elbow position, perfect timing for initiating and finishing the turn?

 

If you can run 15 off like Seth, you can run 39 @ 36... There is NO WAY ON EARTH someone that is working to get thru 15 off can change edge where Seth does in the video.

 

 

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In addition to what Rossi told me, another high end 41off skier told me that the edge change is initiated when the hydrodynamic pressure against the ski reaches it's max. So you can't force that, you can only harness that. It will happen 6ft off the buoy you just turned if that's where you max the pressure out, or it will happen 6 ft after the 2nd wake if that's where you max it out.
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Hydrodynamic pressure will vary from skier to skier based on their strength and ability, no two skiers will have that optimium point...that being said the use of pressure as a guide to edge change seems to be innacurate...

 

as the skiers action after the buoy is to carry/retain direction and enough enrgy to have sufficient width on the opposing side...

 

with that if a skier creates enough energy to obtain that required energy in the distance to the wake there is no reason to continue on through the wakes...

 

@OB makes sense but if a skier is failing at the turn the focus should be there not at masking it with longer pulls into the buoy...attention should be focused to the cause of the problem not compensated...

 

@ral try it, then judge it...

 

 

 

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Ed, that's the exact point he was trying to make. That the edge change happens due to what you do from the buoy to the first wake. I've also seen Andy Mapple tell someone that when the skier forces the edge change, it usually results in the skiers core mass going up and over the ski rather than the ski going underneath the core mass and outbound.
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@jayski, I can change edge where Seth does @15 off with no problem, and I do it (well, not today, but I could 2 months and 2 days ago...). But I am not working on running 15 off, I am working on running 32 and my tournament average is deep 32. I CANNOT run 15 as Seth does, though, and probably there are a few exceptional skiers in this forum that can, but not the vast majority.
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No question that my edge change back in my early years occurred later, but that was at longer lines and slower speeds. At 34mph and -28 and shorter, I change edges much sooner than I used to. Speed control changes have also impacted this. For instance, when I skied with Lucky 10 years ago, he wanted me changing edge at the whitewash after the second wake, a point that I now consider really late. Today at most lines I think about easing up between the middle of the wake and the second wake (I guess you'd call that starting the edge change).

 

When I am with new skiers just learning, the could never run 15 off with an early edge change, primarily because they don't generate the right speed or load necessary to carry them out to the ball. A more advanced skier probably can.

 

But, what I'm looking for back there now is the right set of dynamics between speed, angle, load, etc, that gives me the "right" amount of each, and the right point to "release" the energy. Not to confuse it even more, but think about it like throwing a ball. Your hand moves in an arc, yet you want to throw the ball straight. You build speed in your throwing arm. If you release too soon, the ball flies high, too late and it hits the ground. In skiing, releasing too soon (and maintaining outbound angle) won't work, as the handle will pull you over to the inside edge too soon. Releasing late won't work, as you will be heading toward the ball and still on the wrong edge of the ski. Finding the right spot for that release, where my energy is maximized and set to spring me outbound with the handle tight, is key.

 

I am still a big believer in the pendulum. From the buoy to the middle you are skiing down hill -- build speed! From the middle to the next ball, you are skiing up hill. You can't get up the hill by leaning away from the handle. You need to ride with it.

 

Or perhaps its like riding a bike. Remember when you were young (a long time ago!) how you would pedal your ass off down a hill so you could glide up the other side? OK, I better stop before I waste more time!

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The key to what Seth does when running 15 is the angle he gets off the ball which means he generates all the speed he needs by the first wake. Most skiers don't get enough angle off the ball to think about changing edges behind the boat never mind by the first wake. If I knew what the key was to generating that angle I would be a better skier than I am.
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Edge change timing is, as stated earlier, a result of many other factors. I don't believe you can "force" an edge change in a specific location in an effective manner. Think coming in late and hot to a buoy, where you have to force the edge change or miss the turn. Not very pretty...

 

For you snow skiers, think about rebound. The compression and resulting flexion of the ski(s) under load creates energy that eventually releases in the opposite direction. When this energy releases, you get light on your ski(s), allowing for the initiation of the edge change.

 

You cannot change edges while the ski is under load. Max the load on the ski, it will begin to rebound and that is the beginning of the edge change. Where it happens is dependent on where the load and resulting rebound take place. Timing and rythm play a big part in it.

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@ral just because someone isn't doing it at the moment doesn't mean it isn't feasible for them to do it...

 

...there is no such thing as can't...

 

@Marco, you can force an edge change... the "ugly at the buoy" exapmle you have is because of the mass of errors before the edge change that creates the disaster... not the edge change itself...

 

@chef23 the key is patience...something really hard to obtain in the course

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@jayski, I think you are missing the point several of us are trying to highlight. If you do "the mass of errors before the edge change" you mention, the early edge change is not going to fix anything. And all skiers struggling to run 15 off will make that mass of errors. When they manage to ski without doing them (your "there is no such thing as can't" thing), they will not struggle to run 15, they will be working thru 35. And yes, they will be able to run 15 with an early edge change.
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@ral I think it isn't me who is missing the point, the point I made has been generally accepted as feasible by all, the argument you and others keep saying is that skiers who lack in other areas (turn) cannot accomplish this @ long line, they can they just need to refocus on what they need to be doing...and to say if they can early edge change at 15 off they will run 35 is a little presumptuous...

 

I get the point of "the mass of errors" attributing to failure of early edge change, but that excuse can be applied to any and all aspects of skiing and of why someone failed in the course...

 

@OB one of your pro skiers/coaches you listed on the east coast is the one who has been coaching me on this...

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@jayski, you said "and to say if they can early edge change at 15 off they will run 35 is a little presumptuous...". I did not say that. I did say "When they manage to ski without doing them (your "there is no such thing as can't" thing), they will not struggle to run 15, they will be working thru 35.", where "them" is "the mass of errors before the edge change".

 

Regardless of that, as @OB mentioned, there might be several ways to skin a cat. If you have been coaching beginners to change edge before the first wake @ 15 off and it is working for them (I would really like to see a video of any skier making it to the buoy after changing edge before the first wake @ 15 off and at 28MPH or less...), fair enough.

 

 

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@jayski Any hope of bringing your coach here to the forum to explain what he is talking about?

 

I'm the first to admit that I am both old and Old School, but (as you can see from nearly all the responses) what you are saying doesn't make much sense to many of us. Perhaps another voice could help clarify.

 

I have a strong suspicion that it's mostly semantics, and that we're misunderstanding what you mean.

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I can see how all the people in past history that met resistence with new or different ideas struggled, good thing they persevered or we would all still be in the dark ages...

 

@Than Bogan, there are others that have agreed with it on here, negativity always shows stronger than positivity...and the chances of getting any coach to come on a forum and share his intelectual property for free when his business solely depends on selling it to skiers is slim...

 

@OB private I will share but not publically...and please, their is no crow to eat and I would appreciate it if perhaps you could refrain from insinuating "I can't" do something, I know I can do it and have done it and I am far from a high level skier also I believe it is feasible for everyone and every level to achieve it...

 

Not sure how you can disagree without evidence against it...

 

has any one of you got a 15 off skier to try it?

tried it yourself?

 

saying early edge change doesn't work for a long line skier is like saying counter rotation doesn't work for a long line skier...

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Until the skier can keep the handle engaged with the core and take the handle outbound with them it doesn't matter where you change edges or how much angle you take into the first wake. And conversely, until the skier can take angle into the first wake, it doesn't matter where they changes edges. I still maintain that the edge change is a byproduct of handle control, angle, and load. Telling someone to edge change earlier is like telling the answer to an addition question without telling them what you want them to add together.
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I don't think you can tell a beginning skier to change edges before the first wake. We ski with someone that is working his way up to max speed and his big challenge is to get the ski to finish, build angle out of the turn and hold his body position. If we told him to change edges earlier he would never get to the next ball.

 

I agree with @OB that the early edge change is varsity/pro level advice and until there are a lot of other fundamentals in place it doesn't work. The thought may work for @jayski but my guess is that his fundamentals are much farther along than most people that are learning to ski 15/22 off.

 

I have been watching a lot of video the last couple of days and it looks like for the top skiers as the line gets shorter 39 and 41 off they actually hold the edge a little longer.

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I actually started this discussion after watching Wim Decree video. He does exactly that. When running lines 32 through 38 it appears to me that he changes edges early but at 39 he comes up in the same spot but maintains the outside edge to help gain width and advance on the boat. I wonder if that can be used at longer lines?
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I've been coaching a friend of mine long line. While Ive never told him to edge change earlier, his progression has been just that. I agree with ShaneH in that discussing other aspects and the corrections in technique with him has resulted in a better skiing and thus an earlier edge change. One of the more affective (for him) discussions we've had has been to not separate the slolam pass into chunks or segment/phases such as turn, lean, pull, edge change, preturn, glide etc while he is skiing but rather see a complete fluid continoius movement. We use some of the terms like above to discuss technique both good and bad as it relates to the location in his ski path. If he skies and starts breaking it up in segments it falls apart. I think if I told him to edge change early as a technique rather than pointing it out as a result of something else (at least initially) things would break down. That's a tremendous timing change to suggest that as something to change for a newby. To me it is an affect of other things rather than a cause of problems. Now you just watch... next month WS Mag will come out with an article "The new long line maricle technique... early edge change" Ya, that crow wont taste like chicken.
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This is a great thread in terms of edge change timing. Question: what do you call early? My son skis 36mph and he uses what we call an early edge change as a key piece of his skiing. That means changing edges at the second wake -- almost literally popping from the lean edge to the inside edge. He keeps the handle and rides up and out on the inside edge. He does that at every line from 15 off through 28 off.

 

I ski 28 off through a few at 39. When I started skiing at 38 I couldn't figure out how to manage width and speed. I felt like I should stay with the edge longer to get width -- WRONG! I started edge changing like my son -- quickly shifting from lean to inside edge at the second wake. I decided to just trust I'd get wide and see what happened. That was key to running 38 off for me. I now do that at all lines.

 

To be able to do that, you need to get hooked up and running out of the ball with good angle. Fortunately, I think the two go together. By being outbound on the inside edge I create space before the ball. From that place I feel very confident about the turn, which has really already started. I take that arc and get a fast hook up and I'm off, allowing me to repeat it on the other side.

 

Last year I stated that sometime when you are late for a ball, instead of pulling longer, give the line all you have until the second wake and then just throw the ski to the inside edge and seee what happens. I believe you will find this experiment is eye-opening.

 

In short, I am a huge fan of what I define as an early edge change -- changing at the second wake. If you have good handle control, you will create space before the ball, be wide and in control, and will come off the ball with incredible angle and speed.

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